Top positive review
30 people found this helpful
A Considered 5 Stars
on 21 June 2012
I spent a lot of time evaluating music notation software about two years ago and loaded trial versions of them all before deciding. I eventually selected Sibelius 5 Student, it was a little restricted functionally but a decent price for the features on offer.
I've now upgraded to Sibelius 7 First. I did this after downloading the 30-day evaluation version from the Sibelius web site (I'd always recommend that you did this). Sibelius 7 First is a quite a leap forward and now includes several useful features not present in the Student edition that I had.
Sibelius now looks and feels like Microsoft Office 2010, it uses the same arrangement of tabs as the Microsoft suite (not to everybody's taste but seems to work well enough). It will now import 16 bars from a Midi file (as opposed to 12 before) and crucially has about 40 standard plug-ins, including adding note names and or chord symbols (useful for learners). It can scan in sheet music and has the graphical keyboard or fret-board first introduced in Sibelius 6.
It's a huge hike in price to the full version of Sibelius 7 but for students and occasional users Sibelius First is a very powerful, (quite) intuitive music notation package. I have mine connected to my Yamaha piano for note input but mouse, QWERTY keyboard and Midi controller input are also available and almost as convenient.
I cannot think of any reason not to give Sibelius First the full 5 stars. It is as powerful as it is flexible, installed easily and packs in a wealth of features for a modest price. The fully functional 30-day trial downloadable from the Sibelius web site is a great way to gauge whether you can live with it. I haven't found any kind of notation that is not available. Sibelius is the de facto standard music notation software and is going to make sharing scores easier that the (arguably) less popular software.
I think (although I'd need to check) that you can load this onto two PCs for your own use.